Re: RARA-AVIS: Hammett or Daly?

Jim Beaver (
Mon, 1 Nov 1999 01:41:38 -0800

><<But we still don't know if Kurosawa knew Hammett.
>But in the early sixties he filmed Ed McBain's novel -
>in Finland the film is called "Heaven and Hell", but
>just now I don't remember what McBain novel it was.
>Maybe Kurosawa did know American hard boiled
>This hast to be the one I called "The Bad Sleep Well".
>I've only seen this movie once, a long time ago, so my
>title is approximate. I recall that Toshiro Mifune
>played a very serious police detective in a suit. The
>movie had a definite "noir" feel.
>Did Kurosawa ever write his memoirs? I bet they would
>be as interesting as his career. As I write about
>Kurosawa, I realize what an irreparable loss his death
>has been. A truly independent thinker and film-maker.

I'm catching up on about two weeks of unread emails, so forgive me if someone has since answered this. THE BAD SLEEP WELL is not the Mifune-as-a-detective film known in Japanese as NORA INU. That film is (and translates as) STRAY DOG. It's about a police detective who loses his gun to a criminal, and the ramifications of that event. THE BAD SLEEP WELL is about high-level corporate corruption and the death of an executive. Mifune is another executive, not a detective, in this loose adaptation of HAMLET. The Ed McBain novel KING'S RANSOM was the source material for Kurosawa's HIGH AND LOW, with Mifune as a wealthy businessman who learns that kidnappers have taken not his son, as they think, but his chauffeur's son. As for THE LAST MAN STANDING, I think the film's credits clearly spell out that the picture is based on Kurosawa's YOJIMBO. There is no mention of Hammett or RED HARVEST in the credits of LAST MAN STANDING (or, for that matter, of FISTFUL OF DOLLARS or YOJIMBO). Kurosawa did write his autobiography, entitled SOMETHING LIKE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. He does not mention Hammett, but the book only covers his earliest works and does not discuss YOJIMBO except in a passing reference to its music.

Jim Beaver

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